elderly woman in fort worth-dallas texas talking about estate planning during the holidays
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By Carey Thompson
Founding Attorney

As the holiday season approaches, many of us gather with family, creating a perfect opportunity to discuss important topics, one of which is estate planning. While it might seem like a challenging subject to broach, these conversations are crucial for ensuring the future well-being of your loved ones. In this blog, we’ll guide you through how to approach this sensitive topic with care and understanding during your holiday gatherings.

Why Estate Planning Is Important

Estate planning is more than just managing assets; it’s about securing peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. It ensures that your wishes are respected and your family is taken care of in your absence. Without a clear plan, families can face legal complications, financial burdens, and unnecessary stress during already difficult times. Moreover, estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy; it’s essential for anyone who wishes to have a say in how their assets, no matter the size, are handled and who takes care of their children or dependents. It’s a critical step in responsible adulthood and family care.

Choosing the Right Time and Setting 

Selecting the right moment and setting for discussing estate planning is key. The holiday season, with its relaxed atmosphere, often provides a natural setting for family conversations. Aim for a time when everyone is feeling at ease, perhaps after a meal or during a quiet evening. Choose a private, comfortable space where interruptions are minimal. It’s important to ensure that the conversation feels like a natural, integral part of family time rather than a formal meeting, fostering an open and calm environment.

Preparing for the Conversation

Before initiating the estate planning conversation, it’s crucial to be well-prepared. Familiarize yourself with the main elements of estate planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives. Gather any existing documents and make a list of significant assets to facilitate discussion. Consider your own wishes and how you want to articulate them. This preparation not only helps clarify your thoughts but also shows your family that you approach the topic seriously and respectfully, setting a tone of importance and consideration for the conversation.

How to Approach the Subject

Approaching the subject of estate planning requires sensitivity and openness. Start the conversation with a gentle tone, focusing on the positive aspects of preparedness and care for the family’s future. You might begin by sharing a personal insight or a relevant story that highlights the importance of planning ahead. Emphasize that the goal is to ensure everyone’s wishes are respected and to avoid future complications. Encourage family members to share their thoughts and feelings, making it a collaborative discussion rather than a lecture. This inclusive approach helps create an environment of trust and mutual understanding.

Dealing with Different Reactions

When discussing estate planning, be prepared for varied reactions from family members. Some may be receptive, while others might feel uncomfortable or even resistant. It’s important to remain patient and empathetic. Acknowledge their feelings and provide reassurance that the aim is to protect and provide for the family’s future. If faced with objections, listen attentively and address concerns with factual information. Avoid forcing the conversation; sometimes, it’s better to give them time to process the information and revisit the topic later, maintaining an open line of communication.

Next Steps After the Discussion

After the initial conversation, it’s important to maintain momentum. Encourage family members to reflect on the discussion and write down any additional thoughts or questions. Schedule a follow-up meeting to delve deeper into specifics or address any concerns that may have arisen. It’s also crucial to consult with an estate planning attorney who can provide expert guidance and help in drafting or updating necessary documents. Setting a timeline for these next steps can help keep the process on track, ensuring that the estate plan is completed in a timely and efficient manner.

Starting a Conversation with Your Family 

Initiating and navigating the conversation about estate planning is a significant step towards ensuring your family’s future security and peace of mind. While these discussions can be challenging, they are invaluable. Should you need guidance or assistance in this process, the Law Office of Carey Thompson is here to help. We invite you to reach out to us for advice and support in making these important decisions.

About the Author
Carey Thompson has been practicing Social Security Disability Law Since 2008 after he graduated from Texas Wesleyan School of Law, now known as Texas A&M school of Law in Fort Worth, TX.  While at Texas Wesleyan he served on Law Review.  Prior to going to Law School, Mr. Thompson was a High School Band Director for four years using his degree in Music Education from Michigan State University.  Prior to Attending Michigan State, he attended Aledo Schools from Kindergarten to graduate.  Mr.Thompson feels strongly about serving the people of Tarrant County.